Olivia Blivious (gertinator) wrote in bloodclaim,
Olivia Blivious
gertinator
bloodclaim

Bound, 4/?, S/X

Title: Bound 4/?
Author: gertinator
Pairing: Xander/Spike
Rating: NC-17 overall, but this part is just a tease
Warnings: slash and low to mid range kink
Notes: Another chappie. I feel guilty that I don't have it all finished, but I'm giving you lots of words. Oh, and if one of my OCs happens to resemble someone in the fandom, *cough* that's purely coincidence. *grins*
Summary: Spike has saved Xander from being a demon's slave... or has he?

part 1 | part 2| part 3





Xander stood in the shower, hot water sluicing across his humming skin. He felt so alive lately, so - buzzy and horny and energetic. Like being a teenager again, but without so much of the gawky awkwardness.

In fact, he had been training with Spike, and he had been in the zone. A pure physical freedom like he had never known, power at his command. I am Neo, he thought with a chuckle. Spoons tremble in fear at my name. Maybe Spike will even loan me a coat now that I am his sidekick. He imagined himself in one of Spike's leather dusters and felt a pulse in his groin.

Xander moaned a little, letting the water slice away the layer of sweat from the workout. This bonding thing wasn't so bad, considering he seemed to have gained a portion of Spike's vamp powers. Xander ruefully glanced down at his hardening cock. Vamp powers in so many ways, and he was sure he had not beat off this much since Cordy first insulted him and then kissed him.

Xander slid his hand over himself, gently, teasing. It had been almost a week since the binding, and somehow he and Spike had both neglected calling in the troops. Spike and Angel argued about it almost constantly, and Spike and Xander had been researching, but Xander had not called in any Scooby favors. If anyone could nullify the spell, it would be Willow, but...

Xander was still tight with the Scoobies, as tight as he could be with them spread across the world living their own lives. It had been Andrew who suggested Xander's return to LA and Willow who checked Angel's evil/goodness balance before approving.

Xander's hand slid to the rough area around his balls that still remembered the chafing of the cock ring and the amazing sensation of cool fingers finally releasing it. "Spike," he sighed.

Andrew had known Spike was alive. Now that was a thought that needed more consideration. Did Giles know? He must have.

Andrew had sent him into the belly of evil, and Willow had wholeheartedly approved. Thought he needed some "male bonding." Xander laughed out loud at the thought. If only she knew! True Hellmouth-bred irony.

Xander soaped his hand and let the foamy suds create a slick layer over his skin. No thinking of Giles in the shower, he admonished himself. Contemplate the world's evil with your dick in your hand but do not tarnish the old father figure. Xander chuckled.

Evil was not what it had been, in LA, or even, Angel wanted to believe, in this earthly dimension. Wolfram and Hart's LA office was a shell of its glory days and the other offices were laying off people like Silicon Valley after the tech boom. Gunn had done some legal maneuvering to keep Angel in charge of the LA office and the Senior Partners had reluctantly backed down. Their branch mostly handled demon/human contracts and research, with a skeleton staff of people who either were happy with the status quo, or who had decided to bet on Angel against the Partners.

No one wanted to talk about The Thing That Happened in the Alley, and Xander only knew the bits and pieces Willow had gotten from her friend Alyssa in the LA coven. Dragon, portal, demon hordes, saved in the nick of time yada yada. It was kinda sad how run of the mill apocalypse was beginning to be.

Xander figured it was a part of growing up, realizing that the end of the world was always at hand, and a person did what they could and tried to get on with their life.

Too many thoughts in his head and it was actually dimming his erection. No small feat since the introduction of Spikely stamina. It was even worse than high school, though, constant arousal and no outlet. A little too much damn male bonding at this office, thought Xander, trying to remember the last time he had been encircled by soft, womanly features.

Illyria hardly counted - she had more testosterone than three men. More than Buffy even, and none of the girly trappings Buffy liked to affect. Illyria seemed to be... integrating... Fred a little, but only used the human persona when she needed a disguise. She complained about the "stench of grief" from humans, but Xander had seen her careful treatment of Wesley's books and weapons and thought she probably had more human in her than she wanted to admit.

Still, not so much Xander's type. Not that he ever seemed to go for the humans. He snorted. As if humans hung around this bunch. Angel's girlfriend, Nina, was half wolf, and as pretty as she was, the thought of her getting down and dirty with the Deadboy was akin to the great iceberg taking out the Titanic. She did seem to be helping Illyria restore the tech department to some of its former glory. Illyria needed someone with the patience to help her make use of Fred's fractured memories, and Nina liked to feel like she was making the world safer for innocents.

Then there was the receptionist. Jenna. A feisty little empath with oh, such a mouth on her. When she and Spike started the verbal dueling, good god, it was all Xander could do to keep from coming in his pants. And now that Harmony had come begging for her job back, it looked like Jenna was going to be transferred into the Esoteric Research department - the department run, oddly enough, by Spike and Xander.

Wesley was probably turning over in his grave at the thought of Xander and Spike in charge of his beloved books. And frankly, if Wesley were still alive and obsessing, the binding spell would probably be broken by now. Xander and Spike had a much more ADD approach to the book learning, though they did well enough in all matters not pertaining to their own situation.

Spike was surprisingly good at it, actually, the research. Sometimes Xander caught him fondling the heavy leather tomes in a way reminiscent of the watchers, and it made him wonder about the layers Spike was hiding beneath his Big Bad facade. The sight of Spike deep in a book made Xander ache in all sorts of ways, and he really didn't want to examine that too closely.

Xander's cock twitched a reminder of where this train of thought had started. Funny, no matter where I start, I always end up at the same station, Xander mused grimly. Spike. Jenna was dating some centaur dude, anyway. Or horse spirit. Whatever. And even if she wasn't...

Xander wondered what it would be like if Spike kissed him. He closed his eyes and leaned against the shower wall, glad for the endless stream of hot water as he felt the sense memory of cool lips and tongue against skin.

"Spike," he whispered. His hand unconsciously gripped around his cock, mimicking the leather strap, and he imagined Spike's cool fingers entering him.

"God," he said out loud. "The best sex of my life and it was with Spike!" He banged his head against the slick tile, but the image was seductive and overpowering and he let himself fall back into the memories.

The first sliding pressure of Spike's cock and that click inside, like solving a Rubik's Cube. The feeling of ah-hah! Why was this so difficult, it all makes sense now? And then the release, the mind numbing, steamed, pre-ordained feeling of completion, of wholeness...

One hand gripped and the other stroked as Xander leaned against the wall and imagined cool alabaster skin against his back.

Through the fuzz of his arousal, Xander suddenly felt Spike... listening, through the wall. The name slipped through his lips, hoarse and needy, "Spike..." One final tug on himself and he came, hearing the vampire howl in sync with the shout in his head.

"Oh, God. I am so fucked now," Xander thought as he slid to the floor and flicked the knob to cold. And knew, in his heart, that he wished he could mean that literally.

*****

"Spike?" Jenna asked the pale figure that burst out of the emergency stairwell and headed for the marble entry. Distress and arousal radiated off him.

"Going out," the vampire hissed, slamming through the front doors. Jenna was shocked to see a bumpy forehead and fangs. Spike never lost control, never vamped unless it was for a fight or a carefully managed effect. Something had clearly upset him. Badly.

She stared in wonder at the door to the stairwell. He wasn't on schedule as working late. Had he come down all 47 flights from the living quarters? Damn.

"Fuckin' cocktease little buggering bastard," Spike ranted as he stomped down the street. He noticed a tough looking guy on a bike, a nice new Bugatti, and he knocked him off.

"Gonna borrow this," he said, already revving the engine. "I'll bring it back tomorrow. Maybe."

The guy took one look at the whirlwind of demon and leather and nodded, trying hard not to pee his pants or beg for mercy. Spike didn't even notice, just opened up the throttle and rode the wind.

A few hours later and a good distance up the coast, Spike began to calm down. He'd find himself a nice bird, maybe start a bar fight, get out some of the energy the boy stirred in him. Damn spell made him horny as hell.

He couldn't resist listening in to the boy's daily wanks. Evil, yeah? But usually it was just a bit of the slip and slide. Whelp would toss off, Spike would throw back a few shots of whisky and give himself a tug and everything would be fine.

But tonight, the boy had said his name. More than once, and that last bit... He had known Spike was listening, had said it to him. Spike wasn't sure how he knew that, but he knew it.

What the hell did that mean? Spike growled at the wind. Mr. Scooby Straight Boy wasn't looking for a bit of good old fashioned buggering, was he? Not that Spike was adverse, but the whelp had been protesting his heterosexuality for a good long time and Spike wasn't about to beg. 'Sides, Spike was a little worried about how much he wanted it. Love's Bitch, and all that rot. Wasn't going there again. Was one thing to own Harris, quite another to let Harris own him.

The last week had been nice, comfy. The boy had been affectionate, adoring, but never crossed over into sexual. At least, no more than a tease and flirt. More like hero worship, and damned if Spike didn't find that a turn on. Harris begged Spike to spar with him and bounced around like a young puppy, eating twice his weight in food and gushing in awe over his new improved reflexes. Didn't seem to care about breaking the spell.

And Spike. Spike's demon had decided it very much liked the spell, Spike's soul had decided it very much liked the company. And Spike, the man? Well, he was just waiting for things to get all bolloxed up like they always did. Was trying not to get too used to the good feelings.

The feelings that had swamped him when Xander said his name in that raw needy voice? Well, they were damned intoxicating and never, ever good for him.

Yep, a nice leggy bit of fluff was what he needed, with a set of luscious bubbies and a tight little ass. And then he was gonna kill something. Maybe a few things.

Spike sighed and rode the wind back down the coast to LA where the easy picking were.

*****

It was nearly dawn when Spike buzzed himself in Wolfram and Hart's back door and took the private lift up to the penthouse. Angel would rip him a new one if he tracked blood and demon guts all over the brand new lobby. Normally Spike would enter through the front door for just that reason, but he just wasn't up to facing his grandsire after his disappointing night out.

The Senior Partners' temper tantrum after the Black Thorn deal had wiped out the old building, and as much as Angel had wanted to find fresh real estate, he wasn't willing to turn the peculiarities of the site over to just anybody. Pavayne's cell and the White Room remained protected and intact, and Angel planned to keep them that way.

He had made a few improvements, though, the living quarters being one. Restricted access to the select group that Spike liked to call Angel's Avengers (though he refused to count himself among the group), it was a two story penthouse with apartments for all the gang and a main living room common area. A witch had blessed it, making it effectively a separate residence and a sort of peaceful magical oasis in the mildly evil surroundings of the much diminished firm.

Angel figured one of the places he had gone wrong the first time around was splitting his core family up, and after losing Fred, Cordy and Wes, as well as Lorne's defection, he wanted to keep the rest of his people close to him. Spike was a little disgruntled but also pleased. It felt nice to be wanted by old Peaches, and even better to throw it in the sentimental sod's face. Silly prat wanted to be Papa Brady. It made Spike gag. But not enough to relocate. One big happy dysfunctional family. That liked to kill things, as long as they didn't have souls.

Spike drew the line at family dinners, though. Angel hadn't tried that yet, but Spike was willing to bet he would have if group gatherings didn't always make the green party Host's absence so painfully obvious.

Spike was glad the common rooms were empty as he slumped his way through to his flat. Next to Xander's, and he could smell the boy's distress, like he was having nightmares again. The vampire blew out a sigh and tried to pretend like he didn't care as he stomped into his room.

He peeled the sticky, ichor coated leather of duster number 5 off his shoulders. It was his least favorite of the batch, seemed to always coincide with messy fights and bad luck and tonight was no different. He threw it to the corner for dry cleaning. He stroked number 1, hanging in his closet. It was his favorite, almost as good as the original, and he had purposely left it behind. He had been wearing number 1 when he had rescued the whelp and didn't want to have it cleaned anytime soon.

Spike growled at himself for his stupid sentimentality. He was turning into Soulboy, god damn it. Next thing you know, he'd be brooding and his forehead would expand. He quickly shed the rest of his crusty clothing. A hot blast of water, some much needed scrubbing and he was between the sheets just in time for sunrise.

*****

"Hmm," Spike said, wondering if he had hit the on button on the heated mattress pad. The bed was so nice and warm, luxurious. Some benefits to the whole evil law firm thing, and Spike had quickly become spoiled. No more drafty crypts. But last night, he had been so tired...

"Spike? Spike!" Xander's panicky voice brought him closer to consciousness. He didn't seem to need as much daytime sleep as he used to lately, so it wasn't hard even though he was sure it wasn't even noon.

"Hmmm?" Spike murmured, stretching and noticing he was suddenly a lot cooler. He curled toward the heat and found a strong, well muscled and naked body. Clearly male. His brain did a few quick calculations. "Harris?"

"Spike, what are you doing in my bed?" Harris asked, eyes wide and spooked. Spike blinked a few times and wondered why the whelp didn't just jump out of the bed if he was so upset. Then he sniffed and smiled. Boy smelled like a sixteen year old at the Playboy Mansion. Harris didn't want to give a show, eh? Too embarrassed? Time for a little payback in Spike's book, cause evil? Oh, yeah. Soul or no soul.

Spike smiled a lazy, leering grin. "Look around, pet. Who is in who's bed?"

Xander took in the red silk sheets clutched to his chest, the silvery gray walls, the autographed classic Sex Pistols poster hanging over the black leather love seat... and closed his eyes and groaned.

"How did I get in your bed?" he whimpered. He wasn't about to mention the happy groiny rubbing that had woken him up... in so many ways. Body betraying... must resist. Resisting, resisting... Xander saw every cut marble detail of Spike's torso draped in thin crimson silk and felt his will power slipping. Oh, god, he wanted to hump Spike's leg like a dog in heat. What was happing to him? FIrst the shower and now this.

The shower last night, and then the dreams. The dreams had been torture, Spike's torture and Xander had to watch as he died, again and again, turned to dust every time Xander closed his eyelid and it had been too much. Too much, and it must have driven him into the vampire's bed for reassurance.

"Don't feel bad, pet, you're not the first to find me bloody irresistible," Spike smirked, smug as a cat with yellow feathers on his whiskers. "Though molesting me in my sleep is a little low, even for you."

"I wasn't - " Xander gulped instead of finishing, because he was not sure he could answer that honestly without embarrassing himself. "I find you completely resistible." Liar! And oh, damn, Spike knew it. The smug grin widened and an eyebrow hoisted towards the platinum hairline. "I find you... male... and manly... and oh, god."

Xander was just digging himself in deeper, because he was not saying that with the appropriate degree of disgust for a firmly heterosexual construction worker. More... admiringly. Even awestruck - by the incredible maleness that was Spike, naked and wrapped in silk, sleep tousled and too damn sexy. Might as well just burst into a round of YMCA and slap his own ass. Xander Harris had gone to the gay.

"You liked my manliness well enough last week," Spike purred.

"That's it!" Xander said, grasping for excuses as his good friend Denial finally gave in and was pulverized by the Mt. Everest of repressed emotions he was holding back. He could say best friend all he wanted, but the secret voice in Xander's head whispered, 'Lover,' and that voice had to come from the spell.

"It's the spell, the spell is messing with me. I didn't get all servanty, but I must want to serve you in other ways -" He coughed and turned bright red at the twinkle in Spike's eyes and the wiggle of his eyebrows. "Spike! Spike, we have to do something!"

"Fine by me, pet," Spike leered, leaning into Xander's space, teasing but also hoping for a kiss.

Xander leaned toward him, eyes locked on the flushed pink pout of Spike's lips. A guy shouldn't have such a full sexy curve, but Spike had always been too pretty to be real. Vamphood suited him, cooled his feature into the still and unreal beauty of a Greek statue, his skin pale as the finest stone. Unlike Angel, who seemed pasty, dead, a man who should have a tan but didn't, Spike was only made more ethereal and beautiful.

Xander was a breath away from heaven, or maybe hell, when he came to his senses. "I'm not gay!" he said as he jumped out of bed. He considered grabbing the sheet, but knew immediately it was much more dangerous to his well being to have Spike naked, so he just covered his traitorously hard cock with his hand.

"I have to - I have to call Willow." Xander wasn't sure why that popped out, and he was even more surprised by the hurt expression on Spike's face. But the reality of the situation, the reality of being bound to Spike was washing over him and he wasn't sure that he could give up his traditional male identity quite that easily. Superhero reflexes were fun, but readjusting his whole view of the world so that he paired up with Spike, really really paired, up, was, well, almost apocalyptic.

Though looking at Spike's pouty lips and bedhead and smooth pecs and cut abs made him think it could be very easy, very easy indeed.

"I have to go," he squeaked, and fled from the room.

Spike sighed and flopped on his back, not sure if scaring Xander out of his bed had been a good thing or a bad thing.

*****

Xander dialed Willow's cell phone, glad to remember she was visiting Faith at the Hellmouth in Cleveland and he didn't have to calculate too many time zone changes. She answered immediately.

"Xander! Are you okay? Did something happen? You haven't called in weeks, I was starting to worry. Angel hasn't gone... Angelusy again, has he?" Xander smiled as Willow's voice called up a clear image of her in his head.

"Oh, a world of something has happened, Wills. But not because of Angel..." He took a deep breath. "I guess I'll start at the beginning. Did you know Spike is alive... that is, alive in an undead sort of way?"

"Spike??!!!" she squealed, and Xander imagined dogs across the continent howling and putting their paws over their ears. "Spike came back from the end of the world burny up thing? How would I know that? Why didn't he call us? Buffy, oh my god, why didn't he call Buffy? She'll freak! When did this happen?"

"More than two years ago, near as I can tell. And Andrew knew." Sorry, buddy, but if you held that back, it's your own fault, thought Xander. And giving you up as the original traitor will save my ass.

"That little twerp. I am so turning him into a toad the next time I see him. Why didn't Spike call us? Why didn't he call Buffy and, and Dawn?" Xander imagined Willow bouncing in her seat at the news. Everybody had appreciated Spike far more when he wasn't around to ruin the noble memories with his snarky presence.

Xander opened his mouth, paused. He'd learned so much about Spike in the last few weeks, especially the last week. He understood why Spike hadn't called, in that way only another Zeppo can, but there was no way to explain it to Willow. It was like trying to explain being tactful to Anya.

"He had his reasons, Wills. Anyway, that's not why I'm calling. Or at least, that's not the only reason I'm calling." He paused, chose a joke for an ice breaker. "Remember when I asked you to gay me up to keep the demons away? That so totally did not help. And I really don't think chaps and nipple rings are my style."

There was dead silence for about a minute, and then Willow gasped. "You and Spike???"

"Hey, my other option was a scaly dude who wanted to keep me on a leash. I'm thinking I made the right choice." Xander offered flippantly. "Seriously, we got tangled in a binding spell... at first it was cool, 'cause I got like vamp reflexes and stuff." And he was my best friend and I needed that. There was a limit to what Xander was willing to confess, though. He continued hesitantly. "But last night..." Xander shuddered, feeling his dreams as clear as if they were actual memories. "He went out fighting and I kept dreaming he was dusted... and then I woke up in bed being all groiny with him."

"Wow." There was a pause. "Wait a minute. How long ago did this happen?"

"Um. Six days?" Xander said sheepishly. "We've been researching, Wills. And there's big stuff going down here, and it's only been helping to have me doing ass kickage..."

"You know that spells get harder to break as time passes, Mister," Willow scolded.

"I know, Willow," Xander answered, chastised. He wasn't about to admit that he hadn't really been interested in breaking the spell before now. "That's why I called you. I knew you'd be able to find a way even if we couldn't." Flattery will get you everywhere, Xander thought.

"I'm coming to visit," Willow announced. "I have coven business this afternoon, but I can be there by... seven your time. Give me an edited version, so I have an idea of what supplies to bring."

Xander knew Willow must consider it important if she was coming to town. And by the sound of it, she'd be using magical means. She didn't do that lightly. He tried to give her the basics without humiliating himself too badly. He'd save that for the face to face.

*****

"I'm going to do a little test," Willow announced once she finished squealing and hugging her boys. "If it's a common slaving spell, this might even break it."

She waved her hands around, said a few words and then sprinkled some herbs over a candle. She motioned Xander and Spike closer and blew the candle out, so that the smoke drifted over them. There was a crackling sound and green sparks lit the air.

"Whew," said Willow. "You two all right?"

Got a sudden crazy urge to shag, thought Spike. And if you weren't here, I might just take the whelp right up against that wall. Out loud, he just mumbled,"'m fine."

"I'm okay," agreed Harries, and by the throaty tone of his voice, the green sparks had tickled his fancy, too.

"Well, clearly not a normal slaver's spell. I've never seen sparks like that. That was mostly a cleansing spell. It shouldn't have kicked up electricity." Willow's eyes were wide and intrigued. She didn't seem at all daunted, which Xander found reassuring. Oddly, he really wanted to take Spike's hand for comfort, though. He fought down the urge by getting up to pace.

"Okay, let's start by trying to figure out the spell he was using. Spike, tell me everything you remember." Willow pulled out a little black velvet notebook and started taking notes as Spike described the scene he had walked into.

"They were using herbs, eh?" She smiled at Xander. "Thought you were a prize, mister. They don't use herbs for just anybody." She pulled a bundle out of her satchel. "Spike, I want you to smell these and pick out any that seem familiar. Try not to let them get mixy."

Xander marveled at Willow's professional, detached persona. "Wow, Wills," he said. "I always forget that you are a grown-up now, and an important one too."

Willow blushed. "I've gotten kinda Gilesey, haven't I? It's hard not to, when you spend so much time with watchers."

"Works for ya, Red," Spike smiled, handing back the bundle. He had four of the small bottles set aside. "There was another smell, a grotty stink that rang some bells, but it's not here and I can't place it."

Willow studied the bottles with a frown. "They were serious about their mojo, alright." She blinked and put on the Willow Happy Face, which gave Xander a bad sort of feeling. Willow had never been good at deception, and she usually didn't bother unless the alternative was unthinkable. "Okay, so then you killed the Naad and grabbed Xander and..."

"Naad had his tentacle out." Spike commented casually, knowing the witch would know what it meant. She blushed in understanding. "There was a green bolt when I killed him, shorted out my bleeding cell phone. Oh, and there was ash on the whelp's face."

"Ash?" Willow asked, and she looked slightly pale. "Was it greasy, like with animal fat?"

"Yeah. Think so." Spike cocked his head as if remembering. "Harris?"

Xander's eyes had gone distant, back to the oppressive fear of being in that bonding ring, the dizzy relief when Spike rescued him. "He made a line here," Xander indicated his forehead. "And then symbols on my cheeks, here," Xander ghosted his hands over his face. "It was a bitch to get off, I had to scrub with vinegar 'cause soap wouldn't do it."

Willow paused a moment, thinking. "And you got a green bolt? Like the sparks we just saw?" Spike nodded. "Spike, you wiped off the ash? Did you actually touch it?"

"Might have. Used my shirt, but prolly got some on my hands." Spike shrugged. Willow made a note, and Xander wondered why that was important. Of course, with a spell, anything could be important.

"Okay, so keep going. Xander was bound?" Willow concentrated on her book, carefully not meeting either of their eyes. Xander's embarrassment on the phone and the fact that the Naad had his tentacle out made a flashing neon sign as to how he finished the ritual. It was hard to keep professional detachment at the thought, and Willow was a redhead. Her face lit up like a stop light.

"Witchmetal links. Blue sparks when I first touched the runes, then white when they opened." Spike stated. He waved for the book and spent a second chewing on the end of the pen before drawing some figures. "Like these. Can't remember all of them. Had an Old Cyrillic look, but clearly demon." He passed the book back to Willow and she raised an eyebrow. "I didn't think to keep the gear first off, and it was gone when I got back."

"You went back?" Xander shivered. Nothing on hell or earth would have gotten him back in that tunnel. "When?"

"Next night. Realized it was bloody stupid to leave the gear behind. Knew the witch would want to see it. Don't know who would have taken it." Spike shrugged and looked a little embarrassed. He should have realized they would need the gear to break the spell. A part of him wondered if the demon had made him leave them behind on purpose.

"Some kinky bastard who's gonna get more than he bargained for? Who picks up their sex gear from a sewer anyway?" Xander turned to Willow, a dark red blush staining his face. "It was a cock ring, Willow," he said bluntly, his voice only cracking a little. "That and a leather... sleeve... for my arms..."

"Monoglove." Spike said, and smirked that Willow seemed to know immediately what that meant. She ducked her head back into the little velvet volume. It was cute, almost like the Watcher and his glasses.

"You see why I begged Spike to... to complete it? I needed to get out." Xander pleaded, still blushing furiously.

"You did the right thing, Xander." Willow patted his leg comfortingly while not meeting his eyes. "If you had waited too long, it might have killed you. The Naad was messing with some pretty potent mojo. He wanted to completely bind you to him, bind your body and soul and mind." She coughed and a pink flush covered her face. "It's hard to stay professional when you two are my close friends, but I need to know... Xander mentioned..."

"Oh, god," Xander said, putting his face in his hands.

Spike moved from the couch to perch on the arm of Xander's chair. He stroked the boy's back comfortingly. Xander's tension slid away under the vampire's touch and Spike smiled. Willow raised an eyebrow at him, and he glared back in response.

"S'okay, Harris. Witch isn't gonna judge. Is she?" Spike met her eyes with a bit of challenge.

"No, absolutely not. Not with the judging, ever. Or with the telling. This is all in confidence. You did what you had to," Willow assured them. She continued to stare at the vampire soothing her best friend. That right there told her the world was tilted and doing a boogy. "I just need as many details as possible so I can try to break the binding. So...?"

Spike picked up the story, still rubbing circles on Xander's back. "Boy was right barmy, hurtin', spelled." He shrugged, tried to keep a casual, indifferent air. He'd had a hundred years of hiding his feelings, this was no different. "So I did it, took him. Heard my demon claim him. When I touched the runes, they turned white and the links opened."

"Wait, you heard your demon claim him?" Willow scribbled furiously and she wished this were some obscure watcher investigation so she could dig into the dirt without having to be careful of her emotional involvement. This was so interesting! The watcher journals didn't have any details of siring and the vampires didn't share that kind of intimate knowledge.

"Me and the demon and the soul, we're all one, right? But sometimes, it's like in the cartoons, with the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other. The demon has his say." Spike looked down at his hand, the one had been massaging Harris' back for a good part of twenty minutes. It was just too easy to get lost in touching the boy. He got up.

"Heard it, in its language," Spike said as he began pacing. "It claimed Harris, then left... left me and the soul." And we claimed Harris, too, he thought. He knew he should tell the witch that, but he barely wanted to admit it to himself. Didn't want to admit that the idea of trying to break the spell was making him want to destroy things, that he and the demon and the bloody soul were battling it out under his skin right now. Harris wanted to do this, and he was going to respect Harris' wishes. Besides, not being able to actually have the boy was killing him.

Spike scratched his head and looked Willow in the eye. He had to tell the truth on this or he'd be betraying Harris. It was directly relevant. "He smells like Childer, you know. Angel noticed it right off."

Xander's head shot up and he gave Spike a questioning look. Was that why the two had been fighting so heatedly? And why Angel had been avoiding him?

Spike seemed to read his mind and he laughed out loud. "Yeah, mate, you got it in one. Angel smells the line on you, and as grand daddy of us all that means he owns your arse and your neck, and it makes him more itchy than a night sleepin' on an anthill." Spike continued to chuckle. "Mr. Purity Pouf always had an edge for you, seeings as you stood up to Angelus and all. Now his demon's begging to put you in your place."

Xander stared with wide eyes, then turned to Willow. "You super-glued that soul back on, right, Wills? No chance of it slipping and sliding?" He thought of all the Angel baiting he and Spike had been doing and shuddered. Why oh why hadn't he ever learned not to play with vampires? And why didn't he know better than to follow Spike's lead?

Willow waved thoughts of Angelus away with her hand. "Xander still has his soul, and he's not dead. How could he be Childer?" she asked Spike, intent.

"Don't bloody know, do I? Somehow when we bolloxed up the spell... and that's how a master vamp stakes a claim, innit?" Spike bit his finger and turned to look out the neco tempered glass at the window, watching the sun sink in a fiery golden blaze.

"But you didn't share blood..." Willow asked, confused.

Xander looked away. "Well, one of our early tries... to release the pressure..."

"And he never drank my blood... but I didn't have any lube and I was worried about hurting him..." Spike said distantly, still staring out the window. He had never made a childe, other than the disastrous attempt with his mum, had left that to Dru and Angel. There was a part of him that had always longed to, but another that knew he had only so much to give, and Dru took all of that. He didn't even really like to make minions, preferred to just intimidate other vamps' minions into serving him. Too much spreading himself out, made him vulnerable.

"Oh, that is so ooky and more than I wanted to know." Willow squinched up her face, but then began writing furiously in her journal.

Spike knew she was trying to lighten the mood, but he was worried about the toll this Q & A was taking on Xander. He buried his own feelings down deep, like he always did, and played the Big Bad. He turned, leering, "Don't knock it 'til you try it, Red."

Willow stuck her tongue out at him, then immediately dropped into clinical, fact gathering mode. It was amusing to watch, as if she had a split personality. "So you drank Xander's blood and he... took in your blood and... semen..."

"Might have licked some of the boy's spunk off my fingers, too," mentioned Spike helpfully, amused by the flicker of arousal he was getting from the witch under her heavy blanket of embarrassment and the muting influence of her scientific detachment.

He traced his fingers through Xander's hair on his way to his former seat on the couch, feeling his touch soothe the boy. It was going to be damn hard to let that go.

"That makes a perfect square, then." Willow mused, drawing some symbol down in her notes. "A powerful bond, even without the other stuff. You ingested, Spike, so that put you... on top, so to speak, but you gave as well as you got, so Xander isn't a slave so much as the less dominant partner." Willow sighed. "Without meaning to, you altered the spell almost perfectly. It's going to be hard to break, I think. I don't even know how the vampiness effects it."

Willow reached into her satchel again and pulled out a vial full of a mildly glowing serum. "I have one more thing I want to try, an aura reader. Spike, could you move over to where you were with Xander? Not touching until I say so, but close." Willow drank the green liquid in the vial, said a few words and closed her eyes. She opened them again and stared at her two friends.

"Okay, you guys, I need to see what happens when you touch." Willow watched intently as Spike leaned in to ruffle Xander's hair, and Xander tentatively brushed a hand to Spike's knee. "Wow." She smiled sadly for a moment. "I wish Tara were here to see this. She could probably explain a lot. This is totally out of my league. I'm going to have to call my friend Mindy and see what she thinks. Give me a minute, okay?"

Willow pulled her cell out of her bag and wandered off to the hall.

"You all right, Harris?" asked Spike, still ruffling the boy's hair. It was hard to keep his hands to himself, and he excused it by thinking the whelp was upset and needed comforting.

Xander leaned into Spike's hand, firmly pushing down the wiggins. Yes, it was this very sort of desire to nuzzle the vampire that had made him call Willow, but now that he knew the bonding was on a countdown, he wanted to enjoy the last bits of pleasure it gave him.

"I'm fine," Xander mumbled. "Just never planned to share so many of the Xan Man's dirty details with the old sand box buddy, you know?"

"No reason to feel bad, mate. Red knows you, knows you're a white hat through and through." Spike hated the shame smell coming off his boy. Hated that the boy thought Spike was something to be ashamed of. Spike stood up and paced, clenching his fists and cursing his soul.

He wanted the boy, wanted him for sex and for that bleeding fabulous puppy eyed worship and it killed him when he had to remember it was only a spell that made the whelp feel that way. Harris' body might want a good shag, but when the whelp thought about it, all he felt was disgust. It hurt Spike to the core, down in those places he liked to pretend didn't exist.

So he did what he always did. He covered it with his obnoxious Big Bad persona. "Heard a good one the other day, whelp," he said, pasting a leer on. "A Pylean, a F'yarl and an Elleept walk into a bar. There's a stripper on the stage, and she's down to her g-string. The F'yarl takes one look, and turns to the Pylean - "

"That one is so old, Spike," Xander said, rolling his eyes. "And it was an A'treeal not an Elleept. I had to look up A'treeals in one of Giles' books to get it. The five penis thing... God, only you would find that funny."

Spike gave him the two fingered salute. "You have no appreciation for demon humor, pet. That's a masterpiece. And you're right, it was an A'treeal. An Elleept wouldn't have the stamina." Spike chuckled, imagining the scene. "Can you imagine what Willy'd do? That'd take weeks to clean up!"

"I wondered what happened to Willy. You think he made it out?" Xander was mostly past the melancholy of thinking of Sunnydale, but sometimes it hit him in odd ways. Willow's presence, and her mention of Tara had brought it to the surface.

The Scoobies had sworn from the start that fallen comrades still got mentioned with happy memories, but sometimes it was tough. There were just too many losses. Spike stood behind Xander and played with his hair, and somehow, that made it better. Xander wondered for a moment what would happen if Willow couldn't break the spell. Would it be so bad to be stuck with Spike? Maybe the lusty stuff would mellow, or they could find some way...

"Oh, yeah, I'm sure he did. Did I tell you I ran into Clem? Took a weekend in Vegas, he was playing high stakes." Spike snorted at Clem's idea of a high roller game.

"Cleaned him out of kittens, did you?" smirked Xander.

Spike launched into a slightly embellished, hysterical, and totally naughty tale of Vegas to keep the boy entertained while Red chatted up her witchy friend. It was taking the witch an awfully long time and he didn't want the whelp getting nervous.

Willow finally came back, looking very cheery. "Mindy's pregnant," she announced happily. "Sorry, I took so long, but she was excited and had to give me all the details. We've been out of touch for a little while."

Willow settled in and let Spike finish his Vegas story. She made some more notes in her little journal and bit the tip of her pen thoughtfully.

"So we done with the interrogation, then, Red?" Spike asked, finally. "'Cause the sun is down and I have places to be."

"Where are you going?" Xander asked, annoyed. "We haven't finished the report on the Dymeal Prophecy and Angel has that conference thingie tomorrow. Gunn can't write the contract until we translate the last bit, and you know I suck at the D'lon pictographs."

"I'll be home before sun-up, mum," growled Spike. He really didn't have any specific plans, except a whole lot of whisky and another bar fight. He was itchy to rip something apart, and no way could he sit still for translations until he did. "I'll get the soddin' translation done when I get back."

"Fine. I'll just work out the other bits without you," Xander pouted, turning his back deliberately.

"Fine," snorted Spike.

"Fine," agreed Xander, lips compressed in a grimace.

Willow watched the fight wide-eyed. It wasn't that she had never seen the two quarrel before, it was just the old married couple style that was a shocking new development.

"Hmmm. Let me try something." Willow cocked her head at Xander, then before he could react, she leaned in and kissed him directly on the mouth.

Xander froze for half a second, then his lips softened in a natural reaction to a kiss from a familiar and well loved set of lips. It soothed the lonliness in his heart. That lasted about two more seconds before Xander was ripping away in agony.

"Oh, god," he moaned as he buried his head in the nearest garbage can. He puked away lunch, dinner and half of his intestines before weakly raising his head. "Let's go less with the trying, more with the thinking," he suggested. "I'm sure I only have one kidney left. And my liver is absolutely gone."

As he regained his bearings, he was shocked to see Willow holding off a snarly, game-faced Spike with a wave of her hand. It gave Xander a little chill to see how easily his childhood friend could incapacitate a master vamp. A master vamp who was apparently insanely protective of one Alexander Harris. Willow looked slightly ruffled as she tried to soothe the irate demon, but not really frightened.

"It was just a test, Spike. I didn't mean anything by it. Geez, you're worse than Cordy used to be. And you," she turned to Xander with a joking little pout. "There was a time when you liked my smoochies." In truth, Xander's extreme reaction had startled her, and she hadn't expected more than a growl from Spike. She tried to cover her concern under the playful gestures.

"What the hell was that, Wills?" Xander wiped his mouth with his sleeve.

Spike shook off the game face and took a few deep breaths. Unneeded, sure, but still calming. He grabbed a bottle of water from the minibar, handing it to Xander and giving him a hand up. Just touching the boy calmed him.

"Something in the bond... I was trying to figure out... I saw a twist, like a rope in your auras when I ran the test spell." Willow was furiously writing in her little velvet notebook. "I think the spell tied you to each other on a deeper level, almost like a love spell."

Spike crossed the room, trying to regain his cool indifference. He had always been a hot head, quick to react, but a master vampire was supposed to have control. He knew, deep in his demon and his soul, that he would have ripped the witch to shreds if he had actually been able to touch her, and the fact that he still wanted to made him a little bit panicky. Red was his friend. But not if she kissed his boy. So much for the power of the soul. The soul was cheering the demon's jealous claim on. Score one more for being Love's Bitch.

Spike sprawled himself out on the couch, as physically far away from Xander as he could get. Time for some confessions, though they were going to get the Reader's Digest version. Full novel was too damn humiliating.

Spike wasn't about to admit the debacle of his attempt to work off his lust for Xander. He had gone out and picked up a girl, thinking only to get as far from Xander's image as possible... until the bint had looked up at him through her lashes, and he had realized the petite blue-eyed blonde looked a hell of a lot like a certain slayer.

He had just about embarrassed himself in that moment, the first ever betrayal from his manly bits since the demon had taken over. It had only been his sheer force of will, tightly closed eyes and visions of a broad tan back and thick brown curls that had let him finish what he had started without losing face. He had hightailed it out of the bird's room and gone looking for baddies to kill, and only come home after a good spot of violence soothed his soul.

"Could have just asked, Red. I can save you the trouble of layin' your hot and juicies on me," he said with studied indifference. Spike tapped a cigarette out of his pack, flipped his lighter open, then glanced up at the two disapproving looks. He tucked the ciggie behind his ear and put away the lighter. "'s not so strong for me, still managed to get my end off. 'Course I was across town at the time."

Suddenly it was Xander who was violently out of control, and all of his anger was aimed at one vampire with a wandering eye. He had Spike flat on the couch before he knew what hit him, his hands around the vampire's neck. Spike was so startled, he didn't even fight back. "It was Harmony, wasn't it? You were off fucking that skanky bitch last night, and that's why I was having nightmares. I'm gonna stake her. I'm gonna cut her heart out. She's dust! Fucking whore!"

Xander was flailing at Spike, half uttered phrases coming choking out in time to the punches. "You insensitive, stupid asshole. Bastard! Worst dream ever... you... you got dusted... should dust you myself... never felt so alone... thought I was going to die..." Somewhere in his rant, the anger turned to tears and he was clutching at Spike, shaking him and sobbing,"Don't you ever do that to me again or so help me, I will stake you myself."

"S'okay, pet. S'okay. Wasn't near Harmony, it was just some random bird. She didn't mean nothin' to me. Promise I'll never do it again." Spike held Xander across his lap, stroking his hair and calming him. The vampire flashed a glance up to the witch, begging for distraction. He probably wasn't aware of the vulnerability and dismay that showed in his crystal blue eyes.

"Yep, I'd say there was some love spell component." Willow chewed on her finger, looking very thoughtful.

"I just remembered!" Spike exclaimed suddenly, his brain somehow working better now that he had Xander in his lap. "The other smell. Remember when Anya was so mad about that shipment from Glenea, the broken statue and the leaking bottles? The smell that made me queasy, and I went off to patrol instead of staying for the research party. You lot laughed and thought it smelled like flowers. That was the other smell in the room."

Willow searched her memory, then when she seemed to understand, the color completely drained from her face. "Lypsillian oil?"

Spike shrugged. "Don't know the bleeding name, do I? Just remember a dark, grotty stink like death and not in a good way, hiding under the too sweet pansies."

Willow looked decidedly pale now, and she was making notes in her journal. The mood seemed to effect Spike and Xander and they watched her silently. Xander slid off of Spike's lap, but clutched his hand.

"It's bad, isn't it? It's really bad." Xander knew it always would be, with his luck. And him and Spike together? It was amazing they hadn't ended up stranded in a hell dimension. "It hasn't felt so bad, so far."

Willow met his eyes and swallowed. There was a black rim around her irises and the vein in her forehead throbbed. Her hair crackled with static. "If the Naad had completed this spell... What I would have done to him would have been very, very bad." She shook her head, breathed. Came back looking like the Willow they knew.

"We're lucky you had the protecto-vamp with you. Spike clearly altered the results." She sighed. "Thank the goddess you already have a soul, Spike, or you would have ended up with Xander's. As in, like, a snack." She sighed again, suddenly looked much older than her years. "I'm gonna have to research this. I think that might be the reason you're sort of childer. I think... I think... instead of birthing a new demon, you guys...meshed souls."

Xander swallowed and glanced sideways at Spike. The vampire had a far away look, and Xander had to squeeze his hand to get his attention.

"What's up, pet?" he asked, though he still seemed lost in his thoughts.

"Did you hear what Willow said?" The thread of anxiety made Xander's voice crack. "About the soul sharage and the not breaking?"

Spike's eyes locked on Xander's. "Witch'll find a way," he assured Xander. Though he wondered if his new soul would be the price. Love's bitch, to the end, he thought ruefully. I got it for Buffy, and I'd give it up for Xander.

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